Diagram of the parts of a WordPress theme

Parts of a Theme

Developers have their own collection of favorites.

We like to start with free themes, and build on them.

  • We’ve only used TwentySixteen from the default, built-in WordPress themes,
    • TwentyNineteen is the first default theme released for version 5.anything, and it’s too new.
    • There is no TwentyEighteen default theme. The Gutenberg WordPress was supposed to be released in 2018, but was delayed several times. When it was finally released in 2019, WordPress.org named/renamed default theme from twentyeighteen to twentynineteen.
    • TwentySeventeen gives up too much real estate at the top of the page, and we don’t believe it’s intuitive to scroll down to look for more information.
    • TwentySixteen, of the default WordPress themes, and we consider it “just right” for a basic website.
    • Here is an interesting history lesson from CodeInWP.com: The Evolution of the Default WordPress Themes (2003 to 2019). Skip forward to the 2014 or 2015 theme. The opening paragraph for each one summarizes its intended use. For example:
      • 2015 Was designed “…with simplicity in mind, returning to the minimalist style of the earlier default WordPress themes.
      • 2016 “…improve on the changes introduced (from 2015. It provides) features that are useful for both bloggers and other site owners
      • 2017 “…geared towards sites that weren’t blogs…marketed as a business site theme.
      • 2019 “…a turn back to minimalism and renewed its focus on content creation.
  • Our primary, go-to theme is Weaver Xtreme.
    • The free version from the WordPress repository is robust, and served us well for over a year.
    • The Weaver documentation is really horrible because it covers three different releases of Weaver.
    • The support forum is really good. The owners or an experienced developer will answer almost any question within a few hours.
    • We now pay for the upgrade plugin, and it extends to all of the sites we develop and maintain. (No extra cost to ABCInc customers.)
  • We’ve also had success with the free theme GeneratePress, also available from the WordPress repository.  It’s lightweight and flexible. We have not paid for the upgraded version.

 

Meanwhile, at a WordPress Meetup in St. Petersburg, Jim True (moderator) pointed out that he won’t install/use a theme or plugin unless it is available on the WordPress.org repository. The WordPress team reviews everything that is available through them. THEY DO NOT CHECK FOR QUALITY OR IF IT IS APPROPRIATE FOR A USER. Instead, they verify that the internal coding meets the WordPress specifications, and that it doesn’t contain any malicious code or “malware.” At least that’s something for a user to begin their due diligence.

Some developers like to use “page builders” such as Divi and Beaver Builder. We cannot recommend them at this time. First, users are pretty much locked into them forever.  Changing themes is a real challenge. Finally, WordPress has moved to v5.1.something (Gutenberg). It’s a block editor, which emulates the functionality of page builders.

Best Practice: Create and use a child theme. We originally did that by hand, but now we like to use a WordPress plug-in.

There are lots of opinions and reviews on the web. Read carefully, and retain what makes sense to you. Try to separate the reviews and advice from the sales pitches of a particular theme provider.


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